Show me what listening looks like.
Over the years, many teachers have used that statement. It’s a simple concept that even kindergarteners can learn. As a teacher, it soon became very clear that while I had a great need to be listened to, the students also wanted and needed to be listened to. No matter what our position in life, almost every person wants and needs to be heard. This is a great reminder for all parents.
Am I a good listener? What a great question to reflect on. What most deeply connects us to others– how we talk to them or how we listen to them?
The following are two quotes that probably offer better information on listening than I could ever write.
1st – I remind myself every morning:
Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening. – Larry King
Most people do not listen with the intent to understand;
they listen with the intent to reply. – Stephen R. Covey
When people are asked to choose the most important people in their lives, they often say, “They were always there for me.” I think that means they were always available to listen to them.
In the end, I believe listening is a great skill and a great power. It can be a way to connect with others, learn from them and show you care for them. We can’t forget to listen with our eyes as well as our ears. When appropriate, a gentle touch or a hug can show we are listening as well. The next time someone is talking to you, focus on understanding them instead of replying to them. Observe their body language and tone. Often times, listening to them goes further than what they are simply saying to you.